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7 Common Mistakes Made When Deciding Whether to Divorce


11.05.18


Have you ever wanted to know the common mistakes that people make when making a decision about whether to separate?
Well, here they are!

Mistake #1

Mistake #1 is rushing the separation or divorce.

You need to realise that the process of ending of a relationship is like grieving a death.

There are five (although some say seven) stages of grief that a couple goes through—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. You’ll need to understand that despite the writing having been potentially on the wall for sometime that the relationship was coming to an end, you and your partner might be grieving for the relationship at different stages.

Rushing yourself or the other person into the space of ending all aspects of the relationship, and particularly in a legal way, will likely be met with resistance, anger and conflict.

Mistake #2

If it’s the first time that you’ve been through a serious breakup, you probably don’t know how the whole legal separation process works.

In not knowing how it all works, you’re likely first talk to your friends and family. In making the decision about whether you want to separate from your partner, you’ll ask for or be on the receiving end of their advice and thoughts on what you should do. This is mistake #2.

In all probability, you’ll hear horror stories about nasty separations, how much the lawyers charged, how the kids have been affected by the separation and how long the process took and how bad the relationship is now with the ex.You might accept or be influenced by friends’ and family’s views and experiences, which will in turn affect your decision about whether to separate and how you approach your separation.

Now reflect for a moment, after hearing all of this, how do you think you would approach your own separation? Probably deeply concerned that it’ll be a horrible experience. You might therefore go on the defensive and be distrusting of your partner.

Mistake #3

Mistake #3 is thinking that the whole legal separation is going to be too hard and too complicated.

This thinking will translate to you feeling overwhelmed and therefore not taking it upon yourself to do your own research and find out more information. In thinking this, you might make the decision to stay in the relationship for that much longer than say, if you knew that the legal separation process could be simple and easy. Alternatively, you might simply separate and then do nothing in terms of legally separating for a period of time.

Making a decision to stay in a relationship because the alternative of separating seems too hard or daunting can be unhealthy to not only your well being and mental health, but also to your partner’s and your children’s (if you have any). There is plenty of literature and research out there about continuing in an unhappy relationship, with all signs pointing towards it not being a good thing.

Mistake #4

A fourth mistake that people make is assuming that they have to both have a lawyer in order to legally separate or divorce.This assumption means that you’ll probably go and see a lawyer. You won’t take the initiative to look for alternate options to try and work out the legal separation yourself, which could save you and your partner time, stress, energy and the expense in legal fees.

The involvement of lawyers could make the processing of separating legally a positive, neutral or a horrible experience. Your separation will be significantly influenced by the kind of lawyer you see (whether they are an experienced family lawyer guided by common sense, whether they are a collaboratively trained family lawyer and whether they know what they’re doing).

Depending on the lawyer’s approach, you might accept what the lawyer says without question, because you know no different and they haven’t told you otherwise.

Mistake #5

Mistake #5 is believing that if you did separate, you won’t know where or how to start the legal separation process. You’ll default to asking friends or family or simply go and see a lawyer (see Mistakes #2 and #4). You won’t do your own research.

The consequence of not doing your own researching and defaulting to the stereotypical divorce scenario, means that you won’t know the kind of lawyer that you be asking for, you won’t know the questions to ask the lawyer and you won’t know about all the potential options that are available to you in how to approach your separation. You will effectively have blinders on in entering into the big wide world of family law and the range of possibilities available to you that don’t include Court or having a nasty separation from your partner.

Mistake #6

Another mistake that you will probably consider is the cost involved in separating or divorce. You think it’s going to be expensive right?

Assuming that your divorce or separation is going to be expensive will mean that you won’t challenge the status quo of how traditional family law legal services are being provided in Australia. You know that many lawyers still charge for every six minutes? Fixed pricing is in.

The consequence of accepting this means that you won’t ask your lawyer about what you can do to minimise the legal fees, for the benefit of yourself, your partner and your children (if you have any). Separation doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise, emotionally or financially.

Mistake #7

A mistake that people make when considering whether to separate is assuming that if they did separate or divorce, that things are going to become nasty with their partner. This train of thought doesn’t really bode well for the approach you’ll each take to the separation.

You get what you give. If you give off a defensive and distrusting energy towards your partner or the situation, that’s what you’ll likely get in response.  Your relationship and the communication that you and your partner have will likely deteriorate.